Fri, Apr 30, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Ruthless Nadal fires warning

KING ON CLAYA day after Roger Federer was knocked out in Rome, Rafael Nadal sent a message he would trample anyone who stands in his way with a 6-1, 6-3 win

REUTERS , ROME

A ruthless Rafael Nadal showed he was primed to win back his beloved French Open crown from Roger Federer when he whipped Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-1, 6-3 in his opening match at the Rome Masters.

A day after the world No. 1 had been felled at his first hurdle by Latvian Ernests Gulbis, Nadal left Kohlschreiber scrambling for answers on Wednesday as he began his charge toward a fifth Rome title in six years.

Federer was adamant his Rome setback on Tuesday would have little impact on his chances of defending his Roland Garros crown, as he still had a month to find his best tennis before the clay-court major, but Nadal fired an early warning that he was once again ready to trample over anyone who stands in his way on his favorite surface after knee problems disrupted his season last year.

Nadal’s second-round display was not flawless by any means, but that provided little consolation for Kohlschreiber.

The four-times French Open winner had it all his own way in the first set and Kohlschreiber did not help his cause with some wild forehands.

The German put up more resistance in the second set and had a break-point in the sixth game, but Nadal stood his ground, before breaking serve twice to wrap things up and set up a third-round meeting with Romania’s Victor Hanescu.

Swedish fifth seed Robin Soderling, who handed Nadal his first ever defeat at the French Open last year, is on course to meet the Spaniard in the quarter-finals after dispatching Italian wild-card Paolo Lorenzi 6-1, 7-5.

■PORSCHE GRAND PRIX

REUTERS, STUTTGART, GERMANY

Four-time French Open champion Justine Henin overcame a broken finger and a fired-up German opponent to win her opening match in Stuttgart on Wednesday, her first clay-court tournament since her comeback.

The 27-year-old was taken to a tiebreak in the first set, before breaking Julia Goerges’ resistance in the second for a 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 first-round win.

The Belgian, a wild-card for the event, battled through the match wearing a splint on her left little finger that she broke in training last week.

Fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska became the first seed to go out when Israel’s Shahar Peer beat her 6-3, 6-7 (4/7), 6-2.

■GRAND PRIX SAR

AP, FEZ, MOROCCO

Defending champion Anabel Medina Garrigues was eliminated in the second round of the Grand Prix Sar on Wednesday, losing 6-3, 6-2 to Laura Pous Tio in an all-Spanish match.

Top-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain retired from her match when she was leading 6-5 against Britain’s Anne Keothavong, and No. 2 Patty Schnyder of Switzerland struggled to beat Ioana Raluca Olaru of Romania 6-3, 3-6, 6-2.

The third-seeded Medina Garrigues, who won her ninth and most recent career title in Fez last year, faced 16 break-points and lost her serve seven times to Pous Tio, a qualifier ranked 192nd.

Pous Tio next plays No. 7 Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic, who beat Claire De Gubernatis of France 6-2, 6-4.

No. 5 Angelique Kerber of Germany also reached the quarter-finals by beating Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski 6-2, 6-2. Alize Cornet of France, Czech player Renata Voracova, and Romania’s Simona Halep also advanced.

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